To the editor:
As a member of the Joint Economic Development Council, bringing quality jobs to our community is something I care deeply about. When the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is built outside of Manhattan, northeast Kansas can become a major research nexus, and that could serve to draw quality jobs to us. This potential of a research nexus is something we need to plan for now, not after NBAF is built.
There is talk of KU needing a convention center and the city wanting to partner with KU. Keeping in mind NBAF, to me the real question we need to answer is this: “How does a convention center help us become a research nexus?” What if the convention center were located on West Campus near pharmaceutical research labs or teaching facilities? What if we connect it to a pharmaceutical museum? Trying to tie what KU truly needs to become a research nexus, to what the city or county merely wants, could be counterproductive and weaken that economic development potential.
We are a very unique community in Kansas, and even the Midwest. We need to forward economic development initiatives that showcase what makes us special, such as KU. That unique quality is what differentiates us from our competitors, and will ultimately attract quality jobs to us.